Secrets for a perfect stitch when hand quilting [Tips included] by Claire Haillot October 20, 2022 written by Claire Haillot October 20, 2022 568 Hand quilting is a relaxing activity once you get the hang of it. I find that it’s another form of meditation, as when I’m hand quilting, I simply focus on my needlework and forget everything else. I strongly urge everyone to try it out by making a whole cloth pillow at first, concentrating on the needle motion and not so much on the stitch length. In yesterday’s post, I showed you how to choose the perfect thimble for hand quilting as it’s the key element to your perfect stitches. But you’ll also need a quilting hoop, between needles, quilting threads and beeswax. Between needles are designed for hand quilting. Between needles Quilting needles are called betweens and usually come in sizes 9 to 12. Nine being the longest needle size and twelve being the shortest. Clover Black Gold Between #9/12 is a great package to test out the various needle sizes. The Clover black gold needles have a special black plating on their surface that reduces friction by 30% for an effortless stitch through fabric and batting. They’re also polished along the axis and coated with ultra-thin black plating for anti-rust resistance. If you’re a beginner, you’ll love the Heirloom Gold Eye Hand Quilting Needles – Size #8 as they’re the longest needles and are strong enough when learning the hand quilting movement. As you progress in the technique, you can move to shorter needles to help you get a smaller stitch. You can use machine quilting thread for hand quilting, either 30 or 40 denier. I love the Sulky and Gütermann 100% natural cotton thread because they’re made with the finest, long-staple cotton and are strong with a silk-like lustre. I simply apply UNIQUE Beeswax in Holder to strengthen the thread and prevent it from twisting. When learning to hand quilt, choose a thread that contrasts with your fabric so you can see your work. As you get the hang of it, you can work with threads that blend well with your fabrics. Don’t forget to audition your threads by unravelling them and laying them down on the quilt top. See how I prepare my 30wt Sulky thread for hand quilting in the video below. Tips for a perfect hand quilting stitch The trick for uniform stitches is all in the rocking motion of your needle to grab as many stitches as possible and then running the needle through the quilt. First you need to keep your needle perpendicular to the fabric, letting the needle run through your three layers and just reaching the back of the quilt ever so slightly. The tip of your forefinger from the left hand (reverse if you’re left-handed) needs to feel the tip of the needle on the bottom of the quilt. It needs to push it upward if it’s too far out below. If your finger is starting to get sore, use your middle finger. This is where the ring thimble can come in handy. Now, slant your needle to bring the tip of your needle back up on the top of the quilt. Your thumb can help bring it upward. Remember that the space between the needle going down and moving back up represents the stitch length on the back of the quilt. Once the tip of the needle is back on the top, allow the needle to pull out for the length of the stitch you want on the top of the quilt. Adjust the length with your thumb. The thimble should never leave the top of the needle. Position your needle back in the perpendicular position and repeat the steps once more. At first, you’ll be ecstatic to be able to make 2-3 stitches and pull through your needle. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll be able to make 4-6 stitches before pulling your needle. This allows you to have straight uniform quilting lines. I couldn’t live without the Heirloom Needle Grab’r What saves the day at this point is the Heirloom Needle Grab’r. The soft rubber pliable pad grips the needle and easily pulls it through my quilt. I couldn’t live without it. Here’s a video demonstrating the technique with all the little details that just can’t be put into words. As you perfect your motion, you might find it’s easier with a smaller needle. This is where I urge you to try the needles in the Black Gold Between #9/12. Once you find the right needle size for you (I now use #10 needles) you can purchase that size only. Clover Black Gold Between #9/12 is a great package to test out the various needle sizes. Now all you have to do is find the right spot in your home for a relaxing moment of meditation through hand quilting. Remember that practice makes perfect and that Rome was not built in a day. Enjoy the process and the slow stitching. This is part 4 of 5 in this series Go back to part 3: 5 types of thimbles for hand quilting: Finding the perfect fit! Go to part 5: Perfect cutting mats: Which ones work best for quilting AND why Print this page or save as a PDF 0qs43810 and 12 to help you find the right fit for your hand quilting; Heirloom Gold Eye Hand Quilting Needles - Size #8Clover Black Gold Between #9/12 has needles size 9Gütermann Cotton 30wt ThreadHeirloom Needle Grab’rnotionsSULKY Cotton Blendables 30wt Thread 457m - SunsetSulky Cotton ThreadUNIQUE Beeswax in HolderUNIQUE Quilting HoopUNIQUE Sewing Safety Thimble FacebookTwitterPinterestLinkedinRedditWhatsappTelegramEmail Claire Haillot Claire Haillot shares her passion for quilting among her neighbors in the United States and Canada as well as her cousins in France. Claire has been active in the quilting industry since 2004. At first, she opened a quilt shop and started to teach, write how-to guides, and translate patterns and product information into French for American companies. In 2006, she started her own line of patterns and later began publishing patterns and articles in Canadian, European, and American magazines. You might have seen some of her work in Quilter’s World, Pratique du Patchwork or Canadian Quilter. She decided to close her brick & mortar quilt shop in 2016 to be able to concentrate more on teaching, writing, and creating. She collaborated with PlumEasy patterns to launch the Dancing Diamonds and Gem bag patterns. Claire has also won a few awards for her work: • Juror’s choice in Salon 2012 • Second Place in Vermont Quilt Festival of 2014 and 2016 • Second Place in Salon 2016 • Best of show at the Quilt Festival in Chicago and Houston 2018. previous post 5 types of thimbles for hand quilting: Finding the perfect fit! next post Perfect cutting mats: Which ones work best for quilting AND why YOU MAY ALSO LIKE... The trick to quilting for texture | Double... Create texture with thread painting and invisible thread... 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